The National, Thursday October 31st, 2013
By JACK AMI
THE Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) has endorsed a special recognition for the Ipatas Cup.
PNGRFL acting chief executive officer Brad Tassell (pictured right) said the recognition by the national body was unanimously fully supported and sanctioned and legal.
Tassell said the PNGRFL would give some funding for the event.
He said the same would apply for other offseason leagues in the country which were previously not recognised by the national body.
Those leagues needed to seek endorsement and rectification to be considered PNGRFL-sanctioned competitions.
“The Ipatas Cup has massive support from the Enga Governor Peter Ipatas and is committed to the grassroots level” Tassell said.
He said the PNGRFL regular fixtures like the zone and national championships including the schoolboys and Ipatas Cup were a pathway to the semi-professional Digicel Cup.
Ipatas Cup CEO Timothy Lepa (pictured centre) and treasurer Charlie Gorogo welcomed the stance by PNGRFL saying the competition was finally being accepted by the code’s administration as a legitimate one.
“We are now a legal entity sanctioned by sport’s governing body, the PNGRFL. That support will have benefits such as opening doors for technical support and training for coaches and referees as well for future joint programmes,” Lepa said.
The Ipatas Cup is used as a recruiting base primarily for the Enga Mioks but other franchises such as Mendi Muruks, Mt Hagen Eagles and Simbu Lions.
Lepa thanked Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd for their continued support estimated to be worth more than K1 million over 14 years.
Gorogo (pictured far right) said the competition was for rural-based players, especially in the Momase and Highlands regions.
Initially contested by 68 teams in its early years the competition has grown to see 168 teams competing for the cup last year.
Gorogo said the competition was determined to continue growing and expanding and this would only be possible through proper funding and support from the stakeholders
The Ipatas Cup prize pool for the 2013-14 finals was K200,000 while each regional champion would earn K20,000.
The play offs start with the final 16 from which the winners advance to the quarter-finals.
The finals series take place in Enga with thechampions pocketing K100,000; the runners-up K50,000; third place K15,000 and fourth K10,000.